U-17 project will come good

Dear football followers, it is that time of the week for us to interact on matters surrounding the beautiful game. A lot is going on in our game with our senior women national team in camp ahead of the Eight Nation Invitational Tournament in Turkey Antalya while the under-17 lads are in camp for the Total U17 Africa Cup of Nations slated for Morocco.

We are particularly excited about the under-17 AFCON participation as it sets the path for future greats. Zambia was last at the under-17 Africa Cup of Nations in 2015. Most of these players in this team were part of the 2020 under-15 Vlatko Markovic Invitational Tournament in Croatia. In taking the team to Croatia we had our eyes in preparing the boys for a gruelling qualification campaign that was held in South Africa. Thankfully, the lads negotiated a tough qualifying campaign and qualified after emerging second at the Cosafa. We shall, as always look to giving the team good preparations before the tournament which kicks off next month. The Covid-19 presents innumerable challenges in getting a team out of the country for any competition, but we have risen above those limitations to get our teams participating in international competitions. Regrettably, FIFA has cancelled the under-17 World Cup arising from the Covid-19 global crisis, but we salute CAF for opting to host the tournament on the continent. It gives an opportunity to the youngsters to taste international football even amidst the grim of Covid-19. For us, this fits very well with our 10-year strategic plan that puts youth development at its core.

Our Copper Queens, arising from their growing brand received an invitation to an Eight Nation Invitational Tournament. This comes on the back of the Chile outing that was held last year where they played one of the two planned games before Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the second game. Suffice to say Zambia beat Chile 2-1 in the match played on December 28, 2020. We are doing our best to ensure that we do not fall into the trap of the Santiago outing that saw some team members suffer from Covid-19 cases leading to prolonged isolation. We are in constant touch with our embassy in Ankara, Turkey to ensure that the team’s way is clear on that end. Ambassador Jones Chilengi has kept track of the team from his Turkish base. We will keep the nation updated on the developments around the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games bound Copper Queens.

I wish all of you a pleasant week and remember to stay safe in these Covid-19 ravaged times.

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